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Adam Wood
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I see threads for "top 5 books you own" and "favorite books from various publishers etc., however I've never come across a thread which asks the question "which books do you think are the most underrated (or more accurately the most unappreciated) books on magic?" Unlike the threads I've just mentioned and many others like them, I'd like to see this thread deal with a single title per post and have the poster explain some of the merits of the chosen book he/she feels is unappreciated.

The book that tops my list is David Acer's Random Acts of Magic. This book is loaded with 60 items that are well thought out, extremely entertaining and the book is a hilarious read, yet I can find only a very few threads discussing this book and most are less than 10 posts with most of the comments saying it's a good book and where can I find the book. IMHO one of the effects in the books is Misguided Angles where the one of the angels on the back of a signed selection rotates 180 degrees so that it faces the same way as the opposite angel then EVERY angel in the deck following its lead does the same! The selection can be handed back to the spec. to keep AND the deck can be examined!! Another gem is Time Boards where you say that you never where a watch because the your decks keeps absolute perfect time. You then "activate" the watch (deck) by shuffling the cards half face up into half face down and proceed to "wind" (via the George coon method) the watch, make a magical gesture and spread the cards face down revealing that the cards have righted themselves save for three of them, perhaps they're a 9,5, and 6. You ask the spec. to have a look at they're watch and they see that the time is 9:56. These are just two of the many wonderful pieces of magic in the this excellent book which is interspersed with with Mr. Acer's unique and humorous writing. This book is an amazing value for your dollar and is one of the few books I've read, learned and performed every item in it over the last 9 years. Also included are 12 essays David wrote for Genii magazine that again are a joy to read. This book is one of the best kept secrets in magic. Smile
“The hard must become habit. The habit must become easy. The easy must become beautiful.” -Doug Henning



"Don't make magic impossible, make impossible magic!" - Adam



PEACE, LOVE & MAGIC!!!
Vlad_77
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Concertos for Pasteboards hands down is a VERY underrated book. I suppose it didn't receive a lot of attention because many of the contributors were at the time relatively unknown out side of Germany and Austria. This book is a real treasure.

I think I'll post a few gems from it soon in the Book Gems thread in Secret Sessions.

This next nomination or rather nominations will seem a bit strange, but, I believe these books to be underrated because the AUTHOR is underrated when there is discussion of great card magic and magic in general. Stewart James in Print and The James File. Veterans in the art may well be familiar with some of Stewart James's work, but, a lot of his work remains buried, waiting to be doscovered in these massive volumes. The James File is the largest monograph ever written in magic and Stewart James in Print is the second largest. A lot of magicians will be familiar with Miraskill, Further Than That, and Sefalajia. But, there are many more! If you have these books, or the distillation titled The Essential Stewart James, look up Ten Nights in a Cardroom, The Famous Folk Test, and well, truly there are too many. This master's output is over 1000 effects and his admirers are among the greatest in magic. Yet, when people talk about great magicians, James is so rarely mentioned. He deserves mention in the same breath as Vernon, Marlo, Slydini, and Ramsay to name a handful.

Another off the top of my head is Sam's: The Magic of Sam Schwartz written by Allen Zingg. Many will know of Sam Schwartz's Backflip but that's about it. This is a great magic book with superb magic.

Kort: The Magic of Milt Kort gets precious little mention. All of the magic is great but, I want to especially encourage those interested in magic with dice to get the Kort book. Most people refer to Marlo's work Shoot the Works - itself a great booklet - but, Milt Kort's work with dice is simply excellent. His name should be familiar to coin magicians as he was the chief contributor to Bobo's Modern Coin Magic.
Adam Wood
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I couldn't agree more with you Vlad, Mr. James is one of the most prolific creators ever of QUALITY magic and his books overlooked by many. I remember buying Concertos for Pasteboards and loved what I found inside and I think too that the lack of name recognition is a big factor with this title. Sam's book has a great number of gems with cards cards, coins, rings, ropes and some mentalism items, such a great variety of wonderful effects. Kort is another of my all-time favourite books, again containing a wide variety of magic using cards, coins, razor blades, eggs and much more than I can recall atm. Another well respected but not oft seen name on here is Ken Krezel who despite having published at least 6 books that I'm aware of, but is not mentioned when great magic and great magic books are discussed. It's really a shame in this day and age when magicians plow through $45 DVD after DVD looking for great effects and yet if they would pick up a copy of ANY of the above named titles (and the one below) they would find a pot of gold in every one. If one is of low skill level with cards check out Krenzel's relaxed impossibilities it contains many easy to do sleights such as a palming and second dealing (you read that correctly, easy to do!) used to perform such effects as CAAN and so much more.
“The hard must become habit. The habit must become easy. The easy must become beautiful.” -Doug Henning



"Don't make magic impossible, make impossible magic!" - Adam



PEACE, LOVE & MAGIC!!!
mindmagic
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The one I keep plugging is Hugard's "Modern Magic Manual". It was my magic bible for many years (before my library expanded out of control). The other book I'd like to mention is Gibson's "Complete Illustrated Book of Card Magic" - much easier to follow than the Hugard card classics.

Barry
Julie
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Quote:
On 2013-10-02 04:47, mindmagic wrote:
The one I keep plugging is Hugard's "Modern Magic Manual". It was my magic bible for many years (before my library expanded out of control). The other book I'd like to mention is Gibson's "Complete Illustrated Book of Card Magic" - much easier to follow than the Hugard card classics.

Barry


Gibson's later companion volume to Complete Card Magic, Complete Close-Up Magic, is definitely worth tracking down, too. It's a huge book comparable in size and format to the card book, but little known by most magicians.

Julie
Vlad_77
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Quote:
On 2013-10-02 11:23, Julie wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-10-02 04:47, mindmagic wrote:
The one I keep plugging is Hugard's "Modern Magic Manual". It was my magic bible for many years (before my library expanded out of control). The other book I'd like to mention is Gibson's "Complete Illustrated Book of Card Magic" - much easier to follow than the Hugard card classics.

Barry


Gibson's later companion volume to Complete Card Magic, Complete Close-Up Magic, is definitely worth tracking down, too. It's a huge book comparable in size and format to the card book, but little known by most magicians.

Julie


Great call Julie! The Gibson book is a real treasure.

Adam, you mentioned Dr. Krenzel, and IMHO his final book, Relaxed Impossibilities was/is terribly underrated. I think I'll have to "Book Gem" IT as well. Smile

BTW folks, we do have a thread called Book Gems in Secret Sessions. Please check it out and if you feel so inclined please contribute? The goal is to get people aware of amazing effects right in their own libraries and/or suggest excellent resources that folks may not have.

It has a sister thread titled Classic Periodicals which shares the same goal.

Adam, you created a GREAT thread here and I daresay a much needed thread! Let's keep it going!!

Best,
Vlad

PS: Barry, I completely agree with you on Hugard's Magic Manual. It is still a great book and I still refer to it. Smile
dmoses
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I've mentioned this elsewhere... Magic Digest by George B. Anderson
"You're a comedian. You wanna do mankind a service, tell funnier jokes."
TPR by Dave Moses and Iain Dunford
landmark
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The Routined Manipulation trilogy edited by Ganson.
Magic with Everyday Objects--Schindler.
Magic-Daniel
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Tricks by David Ben.
Kort by Milt Kort
L.i.n.t. John Luka
George Hunter
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Some really good books may not be so much underrated as ignored, as in not on most people's radar. One that comes to mind is by Evans and Craver, The Secret Art of Magic--published 10 years ago by SAJ Magic Productions. The writers reflect on "strategy" for magicians from the perspective of their considerable knowledge of ancient Chinese writings on military strategy. The book is in two parts--the first on street performance and the second on misdirection. I have read the second part more thoroughly (I don't do street magic) and, after searching for sources for several months, found it to be the most helpful and comprehensive reflection on misdirection in magic that I have found. It is worth several readings to internalize their strategic perspective.

George
charliemartin
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My vote goes for the late Bob Wagner's Mater Notebook of Magic. All workable material. Also it was hand lettered and illustrated by Bob.
mastermindreader
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Henry Hay's "The Amateur Magicians Handbook." One of the best and most comprehensive books ever written.
mindmagic
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On 2013-11-21 16:42, mastermindreader wrote:
Henry Hay's "The Amateur Magicians Handbook." One of the best and most comprehensive books ever written.


Great book. I have the third and fourth editions and won't part with either (unless perhaps my as yet unborn grandson develops an interest in magic). The only reason I didn't mention it earlier was that I didn't really think of it as underrated. But I did pick up my fourth edition in a remainder shop, and I have seen secondhand paperback copies unsold in The Magic Circle's library (not sure it would really work in paperback).

Barry
Tom Jorgenson
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I always thought "The Living End" was a very valuable book for the newish card-man magician. I think it's well past time for it to be reprinted.

Phil Smith's 'MITOX' got deservedly great reviews, but his book's concept of the value of the Mitox is essential to understand and is applicable to every effect you do....and underrated (if it's ever thought about at all).
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On 2013-11-22 05:11, mindmagic wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-11-21 16:42, mastermindreader wrote:
Henry Hay's "The Amateur Magicians Handbook." One of the best and most comprehensive books ever written.


Great book. I have the third and fourth editions and won't part with either (unless perhaps my as yet unborn grandson develops an interest in magic). The only reason I didn't mention it earlier was that I didn't really think of it as underrated. But I did pick up my fourth edition in a remainder shop, and I have seen secondhand paperback copies unsold in The Magic Circle's library (not sure it would really work in paperback).

Barry



The reason I call it underrated goes back to my days working in a magic shop. I'd regularly recommend the book to serious beginners, but more often than not they'd opt for another, and generally inferior work, simply because of the word "amateur" in the title.

"I don't want to be an amateur magician," they'd often say. "I want to learn the professional stuff."

It's a classic case of judging a book, not by its cover, but by its title. (I don't believe Henry Hay was thrilled with the title either, but the book was originally released by Thomas Y. Crowell,the publisher, as part of its "Amateur Handbook" series, which included other title like "The Amateur Radio Handbook," etc.)

Bob
mindmagic
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Fair enough, Bob. The first time I saw a second-hand paperback copy available at TMC I recommended it to a visitor. He'd never heard of it and didn't buy it.

Barry
Jamie D. Grant
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A book I keep coming back to over and over again is "The Card Magic of Nick Trost"

Image


I still use the color change (Observation Test) every gig I do. (I performed it for a Magic Friday a few years ago, as well.) But it's the depth of the book that is amazing. It's a book I simply love to revisit.

~jamie
TRICK OF THE YEAR: Industrial Revelation, BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Approach, The AIP Bottle, and my new book Scenic 52, can all be found over here: SendWonder.com
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magicjack1977
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I don't think that "The Card Classics of Ken Krenzel" by Harry Lorayne gets near enough recognition. It is an amazing book; the Erie Spin-Out is an incredible effect.
magicfish
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Randy Wakeman Presents.
gypsyfish
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Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
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